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The world had no flaws as long as I had markers and crayons in hand. My mother was newly divorced when we moved to the United States from Russia. Upon our arrival to America, my family, consisting of her and my brother, was penniless. I was unaware of all of this, and my mother’s biggest goal, aside from providing a better life for us, was to protect me from understanding our financial situation.
Her goal of protecting my innocence was simple to achieve when I was four years old. A pack of crayons was $3, markers were $6, and the printer paper from my mothers job was free. My mother needed less than ten dollars for me to be content. My brother would hand me my supplies and watch me blissfully draw while my mother worked. I drew everything I could think of for hours at a time: fantastic creatures, grandiose houses, and fields of flowers.
I hold a memory of one moment when I became too restless and needed one more sheet for one more idea. There was no paper in sight, though, and my babysitting brother was fast asleep. I had to improvise. I turned around on the couch, and before me was a blank canvas stretching a mile wide. I took a marker and tapped it against the ivory expanse. It worked. My eyes dilated as I saw infinite opportunities. It was no longer just a wall. I began with a line. Then suggested a swirl. I gasped in amazement that I could stretch my arm and never run out of space. My mother came home soon after my revelation, and her usual pleasure to see my brother and me was quickly overcome with staggering panic as she noticed my artwork. I immediately knew what I did was wrong, but I didn’t know why.
The Wall, as it came to be known, takes a new meaning as I grow older. At four years old, I was oblivious to the consequences of my mural. Years later, as we were moving out, I understood why my mother had panicked that day. My capability to create and develop was a free luxury on paper; but that wall was not free. We had to pay for the damage I created. My mural made a dent in my family’s financial situation. This dent was not rooted from malicious intent, but I was too young and protected to realize that my intent did not define the consequence. I wanted to create a thing of beauty while relaxing in the process; but my artwork had created more stress than beauty. I eventually accepted that I must pay close attention to my family’s finances. I must be mindful of every possible consequence of what I purchase, where I eat, and what I ask of my mother, because my mother will sacrifice any bill payment to try making me comfortable.
I reflect on the Wall, and I remember the negative consequence that was the result. But I also keep in mind that the release of my creative drive can result in positive consequences. That is my intention; create dents that propel this world into a brighter future. I will design means of promotion for charities and businesses that give back to their community. I will support organizations that support compassion and acceptance. My eyes are continuously widened to the endless opportunities for growth and progression as I experience life. This world has plenty of flaws; but these flaws cannot hold me back from creating beauty. Every flaw is a blank canvas for my ideas to be released on. I have an innumerable amount of energy that’s eager to be exhausted with my Crayola markers; I just need to find the right canvas.
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